Garters in a Twist 641

The House of Lords broke no constitutional conventions in referring back Osborne’s vindictive tax credit cuts. The Tories and their media supporters are talking utter garbage on the question. Taking Britain’s appalling “constitution” for what it is, the arcane rules of procedure were not breached.

Ever since David Lloyd George and Herbert Asquith forced, by threat of massive creation of peerages, the 1911 Budget through and with it the start of National Insurance and the demise of the workhouse, there has been a convention that the Lords do not oppose or amend Finance Bills.

But the tax credit cuts were not in a Finance Bill. Osborne instead tried to sneak them through by statutory instrument. This is secondary legislation whereby a Minister signs off laws under powers delegated to him by primary legislation. Secondary legislation gets much less parliamentary time and committee scrutiny. If Osborne had put the tax credit proposals in a Finance Bill, as they certainly should have been – it is Osborne who was breaking parliamentary convention here – rather than sneak them under the table as secondary legislation, the Lords would indeed not have been able to stop them without breaching constitutional convention. Which just goes to show it doesn’t always pay to be a weasel.

Osborne is hoist by his own petard.

Aah, Tories say. But there is another convention that the Lords do not block secondary legislation.

They are making that one up. There is no such constitutional convention and there are plenty of examples of the Lords blocking secondary legislation. There is a huge quantity of secondary legislation, thousands and thousands of laws – ministers continually are signing off legal changes.

But the entire basis of the secondary legislation is that parliament has delegated to ministers, in Acts, powers to sign off uncontroversial matter. This can be, for example, the detail of regulations needed technically to enforce primary legislation, and the occasional updates needed. Only a very low percentage indeed of secondary legislation ever gets queried by the Lords, but that is not because of a constitutional convention. That is because most of it is dull stuff. But when the government abuses its authority and tries to smuggle vital changes through secondary legislation, the Lords not only has the constitutional right to challenge this abuse, it has the constitutional duty to do so.

I wish they would do it more often. For example, when the Labour Party used Westminster secondary legislation to cede 6,000 square miles of Scotland’s sea to England without parliamentary scrutiny.

Finally, there is a constitutional convention that the Lords do not oppose manifesto commitments on which a government has been elected. But the Tories rather carefully did not put tax credit cuts in their manifesto, and indeed in campaigning said they would not do it.

The British constitution is appallingly undemocratic. The fact that an undemocratic chamber has fended off a proposal from an undemocratic executive which gained the votes of only 37% of the voting electors, is not a blow struck for democracy. It is however a temporary victory for human decency in mitigating an attack on the poor.

It is also an achievement for Jeremy Corbyn. Nobody can truly believe that Labour peers would have been organised to do this under Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall.

UPDATE Wings Over Scotland has a very different take on the Labour Party performance. That the Labour Party was not radical enough to go for the “fatal” option I am afraid I find unsurprising. It remains a deeply conservative institution. But I had not previously encountered the argument that 90% would lose the money from universal credit anyway, and it is stunningly cynical. But on close consideration, I cannot work out what it means. Either there must be some additional cut to universal credit, or that those who lost tax credit could have regained it on universal credit anyway. If anybody could explain that one further, I should be grateful.

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641 thoughts on “Garters in a Twist

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  • Mary

    One here for the file.

    November 2, 2015
    Exploding Radioactive Waste Warning: Keep it Above Ground
    by John Laforge

    Early on Sunday Oct. 25, an underground fire caused an explosion in a low-level nuclear waste site in the desert 10 miles from Beatty, Nevada, and 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The explosion and fire followed flash flooding that shut down Beatty’s escape routes: US 95 and State Highway 373. The 80-acre dumping ground, closed since 1992, is run by — get this — “US Ecology.” The private dump consists of 22 trenches up to 800 feet long and 50 feet deep, and its older trenches have radioactive waste within three feet of the surface, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

    Certain types of radioactive material are known to catch fire when in contact with water, so the flooding that struck prior to the explosion may have been its cause. Unfortunately authorities don’t know what sorts of radioactive isotopes are buried in the trenches there. Nor does anyone know either how the fire started or how much radioactive waste burned.

    Rusty Harris-Bishop, spokesman for the US EPA’s Region 9 office in San Francisco said in a prepared statement, “No gamma radiation has been detected at this time.” This nuanced remark does not indicate that gamma radiation wasn’t detected. It also artfully dodges questions about alpha and beta radiation.


  • Ben-Outraged by the Cannabigots

    If ISIS is the source and seem anxious to weld themselves why don’t they give details? Surely if a bomb was smuggled on board there are few protocols which can effectively stop future events because the ME is a petri dish of corruption and incompetence. If ISIS wants credit it will have to work for it. No. I think the Russophobes will continue their foraging for wild mushrooms. Neocons notwithstanding.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    If there was a bomb. why has the rudder only been shredded, and the vertical stabilizer which holds it just broken but not demolished?

    And where are the signs of an explosion, like burns on pieces?

    The only burns I see were caused by fuel on the plane when it broke apart, first in a gallery when the tail broke off, and then in the wings after it crashed on the ground.

    In short, ITV is full of crap.

  • Mary

    The plane was owned by Wilmington in Ireland

    ‘Russia responsible for maintenance of crashed Airbus
    2002 deal left Irish-registered craft under remit of lessee Kolavia’s aviation authorities

    ‘The Dublin company that has been reported as owning the aircraft, Wilmington Trust SP Services (Dublin) Ltd, is an Irish subsidiary of a US bank that holds legal title to aircraft on behalf of third parties.

    It is a relatively small player in Ireland’s enormous aircraft leasing sector, which has about half of the world’s approximately 8,000 leased commercial jet aircraft on its books. Efforts to contact a representative of the company were not successful.

    While Wilmington was providing services relating to the aircraft, it is understood the Airbus was in fact leased to Kolavia by the Amsterdam-headquartered aircraft leasing group Aercap. Aercap’s Shannon-based subsidiary, Aercap Ireland, was formerly the late Tony Ryan’s GPA Group Ltd, the company that established Ireland in the aircraft-leasing business.’

    Wilmington –

    A lawyers’ paradise.


    The Mirror is also suggesting an explosion.

    Russian plane crash: US satellites spot ‘heat flash’ suggesting bomb as cockpit recordings show ’emergency situation’ surprised crew

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Right, the USA spooks discovered a heat flash, indicating that an extreme change in temperature occurred around there at the time the plane crashed, and burned. End of that wild goose claim.

    Remember some British surveillance company had some most obscure intelligence that MH370 turned just after it signed foo with Kuala Lumpur ATC, and went surprising west, probably crashing hours later in the southern Indian Ocean off Western Australia where the so-called investigators have been looking for around 20 months now but without any success.

    The USA is the prime suspect in this mass murder. It has the best motive, means and opportunity for having sone so.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    And regarding Habby’s wild goose claim about no hard turn, the plane’s vertical stabilizer and rudder show that they could not deal with the command to make such a turn, simply shredding, slowly breaking up, and ultimately breaking off from the fuselage because of the extreme, external impact.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    And regarding Habby’s wild goose claim about no hard turn,…

    I’m not Hababbcuk. An error which sheds light on your standards of accuracy.

    Once again, you are stating as fact a theory for which you have no evidence other than that the tail probably fell off. Against which can be set the known fact that the aircraft was repaired following a a tail strike, and that it is established that a poor repair in such circumstances can lead to subsequent fatigue failure of the aft bulkhead, permitting explosive decompression.

    The heat flash* is much more persuasive evidence for an onboard bomb than for computer hacking. Do not multiply hypotheses unneccessarily…

    Note also that Metrojet hadn’t paid its employees for two months to gain a hinty as to why it is insisting the plane was in perfect shape…

    *If, as you will immediately say, it existed. But if you start from the premiss that the evil USA for some sinister reason** decided to down a Russian holiday flight, then of course, it didn’t.

    **preferably involving Lord Brougham.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    You believe any pathetic nonsense, Ba’al. when it is convenient for the Anglo-American covert government.

    The plane’s tail did break off as it was found separated from the fuselage.

    The crash which resulted in the fuselage and wings burring up totally is the explanation for the heat flash.

    Sure, the unpaid employees brought down the plane to make sure that they never got paid.

    And the damaged tail occurred in 200, as I recall1.

    Are you suggesting that airlines should never use any planes which get damaged? If they did, many fewer airliners would be operating as they often suffer damage.

    And I have never mentioned Lord Brougham in this regard. Only the sabotaged airliners, like Asiana Flight 214, MH370, MH17, and the Germanwings crash.

    Why do you try so hard to absolve mass murderers?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    You believe any pathetic nonsense, Ba’al.

    Anyone ever tell you about transference?

    To test your hypothesis, I do what any scientist should do; check it against others. It fails against at least two. Which is not to say, and I don’t, that I beieve in either of them.

    However, Mystic Ba’al’s spirit guide will take mechanical failure with a side order of onboard bomb – though without obvious penetration of the tail section by shrapnel which should have originated in the aft cargo hold, or much sign of scorching, I’d give that longer odds.

    Place bets now.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Don’t make any bets about what the Anglo-American covert government is involved in.

    Remember when the American spooks made Captan Lee aka We Fuk Up responsible for the crash at SFO of Asiana Flight 214 when it was he who prevented it from becoming another mass murder when he pulled its nose up at the last second, preventing it from flipping over on the tarmac, and burning up all the passengers inside? Thought not.

    Don’t think a mechanical failure, plus a bomb was involved in this case, as a bomb would certainly be recorded on the CVR when it only has unusual sounds aka the fuselage showing stress because of the dangerous bank and turn it was experiencing. Then everything went dead.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    And I have never mentioned Lord Brougham in this regard.

    My bad. I was thinking of the hand-luggage laser cannon and didn’t we have a submarine earthquake generator?

    *ducks and covers*

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Yes, the hand-held laser was responsible for the fires on Asiana 214 before it crashed, and it was intended to burn up all the Chinese. Chinese-Americans et al .on board, thanks to those two Iranians, using fake passports, firing those laser beams through toilet ceilings,, and bringing back the lightning bolts which caused them.

    The two were much more successful on MH370, having it burn up in the sky, and leaving hardly a trace.

    It was all because of Mi6 trying to get back at Beijing and Tehran for foiling the attempt to get Bo Xilai at the head of the Chinese leadership when it was struck by another disaster, hopefully leading to its overthrow.

    The submarines were involved in the December 2004 earthgquake and devastating tsunamis, and the Fukushima one.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Lol, but your material’s getting thin, Trow.

    Against the clear-air turbulence hypothesis, flight ORB 3795, travelling on a roughly reciprocal course to KGL 2968, at a similar altitude, and ~30Km to the E of it, experienced no rapid altitude changes at any point, but descended smoothly to Sharm. The trouble seemed to start for KGL 2968 exactly as it hit what I gather was its target altitude of 33,000 feet, and that might imply something like a scenario described here:

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I don;t take anything seriously that the DM reports, just take note of it, and look for my own explanation for what happened.

    Saying that Airbus 300s are flying coffins is pathetic.

    The Air France crash was due to pilot error, and the Metrojet one was caused by Washington-led sabotage.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I don;t take anything seriously that the DM reports, just take note of it, and look for my own explanation for what happened.

    Ah. Now the DM is a shite paper, and it is owned by an arsehole of the first water, but it has some good journalists, who do their research. This may be difficult for you to appreciate because an explanation is only the right one when it is reached without evidence or reasoning or any consideration of alternatives, and it’s got your name on it. Amiright?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    There was no bomb on board because no explosive residue was found, so the burned bodies were the result of a cabin fire, most likely caused by the breaking off of the tail which sucked everything in it, especially combustibles in the galley, into a fiery inferno.

    And, no,, I didn’t get this from the Daily Mail.

  • Mary

    No 10: ‘Explosive Device’ May Have Downed Plane
    17:13, UK, Wednesday 04 November 2015

    The Russian jet that crashed in Egypt “may well have been brought down by an explosive device”, Downing Street has said.

    A Government spokesman said all flights due to leave Sharm el-Sheikh for Britain this evening will be delayed to allow a team of UK experts to assess what security arrangements are in place at the airport.

    Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a meeting of the Government’s COBRA emergency committee on Wednesday evening to review the situation.

    The Metrojet plane, which was en-route from Sharm el-Sheik to the Russian city of St Petersburg, crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

    More follows…..

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    No, 10 getting desperate, thank to prodding by Washington?

    The Belfast Telegraph, and The Telegraph earlier have reported that no explosive residue found on the burned bodies by Russian experts dealing with them.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just shocking how the Anglo-American spooks are taking over the investigation of this crash, making it look like Isis did it, and Putin is responsible for the killing of his own people.

    Isis apparently got some kind of explosive device somewhere, somehow on the plane, and it exploded even if there is no evidence of it yet.

    The French, Egyptian, and Russian investigators should just go home, and London and Washington get the EU to go along with NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue until Assad is history, and Putin is put back in its box,

    This is the worst covert operation I have witnessed in my 85 years.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    … no explosive residue was found…

    As I carefully pointed out, according to one source. However, that is not an insuperable objection, as it would depend on what was tested, for what it was tested, on the reliability or even the knowledge possessed by the source. Feel free to agree or disagree, as usual; I have no wish to discuss explosives on a public forum.

    … And, no,, I didn’t get this from the Daily Mail….

    Problem is, it’s not too clear where you’re getting any of your ideas from, other than the gunge between your own ears. I try to acknowledge my sources. And the Mail is no more unreliable than you are. It’s always a good idea to see who the author is, too, rather than assuming that because the paper is sold on the basis of its froth content, everything in it is froth. So. David Rose wrote the piece I cited. Here’s another by him –

    Doesn’t look like he’s taking the US line at face value there, does it?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I’m deeply saddened that I have to impart basic research skills to a soi-disant historian. Conclusions, either

    1. You have never had an academic paper accepted or
    2. Your contributions to the field of woo theory on CM are simply designed to muddy the waters.

    (I incline to the latter, but be sure to provide citations if denying the former. Thanks.}

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I have had articles published in refereed journals like Government & Opposition, Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Irish Historical Studies, Eire-Ireland, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Studies, Durham University Journal, The Journal of Legal History, Studies,The Anglo-America Law Review,Studia Hibermica, Tijdschrift Voor Rechtsgeschiedenis, etc.

    For the Agency’s ability to take over airliner transponders, thanks to the Pentagon’s DARPA program, read its agent Oswald Le Winter’s book about managing America.

    You have the rare ability to attack both reliable messengers, and what they claim.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    NATO was ideally placed to bring down the Metrojet plane for Washington from the Israeli base Ramon in the Negev, as its base in Istres, France had been able to crash the Germanwings airliner, showing that the Mediterranean Dialogue has the means and opportunities to cause air disasters which suit its aims against the EU..

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Can find no mention of Oswald LeWinter’s book, In Managing America, on the internet, especially his discussion of DARPA’s The Anti’Air Piracy Remote Control System (ANAPIRCS), and no mention of it apparently in Annie Jacobsen’s book about DARPA, The Pentagon’s Brain, which was conveniently published between the hijacking of the Germanwing’s plane and the Metrojet one.

    I was given a paper copy of the book by LeWinter himself when he was looking for where I was going in my research of the Palme assassination, and attempted, as expected, to get me to follow some of his false leads, then of course in the 9/11 fiasco.

    Perhaps what I have is the copy left, and will put together what he says about ANAPIRCS soon.

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